The Mana Dork


Complete Disregard

Let me tell you a secret: I’m not actually that good at playing Magic. 

Competitive Magic, anyway. Or anything 60-card. I’ve won the occasional game of Commander, but I don’t think I do any better than the 25% win rate you’d expect in that format.

Drafts, I think my best result has been 2-2. Pre-releases, I once went 3-3, but that was with a deck a friend of mine basically built for me out of my pool.

This… displeases me. I think I can be better than this.

Let’s make some Magic resolutions, shall we?

Azami, Lady of Scrolls

  1. I will build a competitive Commander deck, and win a tourney with it.

Let’s start with the format I’m most familiar with.

I’ve got two decks that are competitive-ish—a Sliver Overlord list designed to go infinite quickly, and a Shu Yun voltron that’s capable of knocking out an opponent within the first four or five turns.

But neither of these are truly competitive—they just hold their own in competitive games. The Slivers list requires too many cards, each of which are too fragile on their own, to really succeed in a competitive environment. And Shu Yun suffers from all the usual disadvantages voltron has when facing multiple opponents—all of my eggs are in one handsome, ghostfire-tattooed basket, and there’s three opponents looking to upend it. No good, in my opinion.

If I want to win, I’ll need to go all-in on combo, resource denial, or both—much more solid ways to win when dealing with multiple opponents.

I also have a beautiful foil Azami that has yet to find a home. Well, now may be her chance…

Topan Freeblade

  1. I will win a draft.

I can’t figure out if this will be easier or harder than winning a competitive Commander tourney. Ultimately, I think it will depend on the draft environments that come out in 2016, as well as my ability to read them.

For Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir, I was too new to be of any use. With Modern Masters 2015 and Magic Origins, I felt like I was finding my feet—but those were two of the more linear, easy-to-read draft environments of the year. And I haven’t drafted much Battle for Zendikar, although I’ve done okay the rare times I have shuffled up.

Let’s do better, eh? Let’s listen to Limited Resources, shuffle up a few more times, maybe do some cube, and see if I can’t get better at reading signals and evaluating cards.

Abzan Ascendancy


  1. I will place in the top 8 at a Pre-Release or Game Day event.

Those of you of a certain age will remember that classic MADtv skit, “Lowered Expectations”… yeah. Let’s get a little of that music playing in the background here.

I am awful at building decks for 60-card constructed formats. I’m all like, “Yeah! Monks with prowess! Monks are cool! Let’s run a bunch of cheap burn and draw spells and have at ‘er!”

… and then, for the first six months I run the deck, I have no Monastery Swiftspears or Mantis Riders, two of the best creatures in the format.

Right? How could I be so blind?

Well, we can do a little bit better, and hopefully on a budget, too. It might not be for Oath of the Gatewatch; heck, it might not be until April or October, when some of the existing archetypes rotate out and I can get in on what Shadows Over Innistrad and its follow-ups have in store. But better we will do.

Join me, will you? Let’s see some of these resolutions… resolve.

Jesse Mackenzie is a regular contributor to A Muse N Games. His secret fourth resolution is to see if Scotia will fire him over a pun. Join him every two weeks for “The Mana Dork”, a column about his journey back into Magic.